A federal judge has refused to recuse himself in the trial of an Edmond man accused of sexually abusing children at an orphanage in Kenya.
Matthew Durham’s defense team filed a motion for recusal and/or disqualification, arguing that U.S. District Judge David Russell recuse himself from further proceedings. The motion alleges that Judge Russell has "a deep-seated bias" in favor of federal prosecutors and against Durham and his attorney, Stephen Jones.
However, the court denied the motion Tuesday, saying that none of the arguments suggest that the court’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
Back in October, 2015, Durham’s attorneys filed a court motion requesting a new trial, saying that a key expert witness in the government’s case presented false testimony at the trial, and that US prosecutor Robert Don Gifford knowingly and deliberately failed to correct the testimony.
Judge Russell said he would allow Durham’s attorneys to file for retrial based on the false testimony claims, but was “throwing out” the claims about misconduct and inappropriate relationships involving the prosecution team and a media member.